Psalm 119:9-16, “How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules[a] of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.”
The amazing thing about Psalm 119 is it is considered right near the middle of the Bible. Some people argue the middle of the Bible is Psalm 116 or Psalm 117. Either way though, Psalm 119 is one or two chapters away from the center of the Bible. That’s amazing in and of itself. What’s even more amazing is the structure of Psalm 119 is arranged according to the Hebrew alphabet. In this case, the second word of the Hebrew alphabet is Beth. So here we are in our second study of Psalm 119, arranged around the Hebrew language, and the Psalmist has an important word for us. He begins with the question, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” (verse 9). He answers by stating in verse 9, “By guarding it according to your word” and then continues explaining “with my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!”
That statement “let me not wander from your commandments” is a significant one. The book of Psalms begins in Psalm 1 with a meditation on daily feasting on the Word of God. Now here, near the middle of the Bible, we are told the Psalmist desires with his whole heart to not wander from the commandments. He continues explaining how this is so in verse 11, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
If you grew up in church and attended youth group of any kind it’s highly likely you learned Psalm 119:11. It’s a verse; I often repeat to myself sometimes over and over again each day. It’s also a reminder of the importance of the Word of God. The Word of God help us grow, so we will not as the Psalmist said earlier in this section “Wander” from the Lord.
One of the critical keys to walking with the Lord is daily storing up the Word of God in our lives. It’s so easy to go through each day and treat it as if it’s just another day. Yet, each day we need to remember is from the Lord. Each day is also full of new mercies and new opportunities to trust in the Lord and His goodness. Each day is not an opportunity for us to do whatever we want. Instead, it’s a fresh opportunity to magnify the Lord and treasure more of Him. One way we can do this is by understanding that daily Bible reading is both a delight and duty. It’s a delight that God invites us to store up His Word in our hearts so we may not sin against him. And yet it’s a duty for that same reason—because we do sin, and we now have as 1 John 2:1 says an advocate in Jesus before the Father when we do sin. The daily intake of Scripture is a time to read, reflect, and begin to obey the Word of God. Doing so helps us fight against and kill sin, thus honoring the commandments of God as the Psalmist here says here in our passage.
The Psalmist continues in verses 12-14 expressing the delight of God’s Word saying, “Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statues! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.” Here the Psalmist is articulating a humble, godly attitude toward the Word of God. The Psalmist is not aiming to be above the Word but places himself under the Word of God to be taught by God. Is that the same desire for you today? Does your desire join with the Psalmist and say, “Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!” As Christians, we are to submit to and daily obey the Scriptures. To that end, we should say with the Psalmist in Psalm 119:13-14, “With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.”
If we are daily feasting before the Lord of the Word, it will show in an increased desire to be taught by God through the Scriptures. Let me ask you an honest question, “Do you listen attentively to the Word being preached or do you sort of pay attention?” Our attitude to the preached Word of God reveals where we are at in relation to our growth in grace. For example, if I’m clearly in a hurry to get out of church and listen to the sermon and then up and leave right after that says something about my growth in grace. As Christians, we have a great need of God’s grace and for one another. After all, we will be with one another for all eternity. It’s a delight to sit under the teaching of the Word of God, even as it’s a delight to also be in community with God’s people. We should long to sit under the preaching of God’s Word and be in community with one another, since, as the Psalmist says, “all the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.” The Psalmist has an eternal perspective born of a desire to honor and glorify the Lord, even as he lives before the face of God. Is your desire the same as the Psalmist today?
Psalm 119:15-16 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statues; I will not forget your word.”
Life is coming at you and I a million miles an hour. Also, we live in an age of screens where it’s easier than ever to get distracted. Many people are so distracted they never take their eyes away from screens whether that’s their laptop or their phone. It’s hard to fix your eyes on anything other than what is in front of you; especially if that’s your phone or your laptop and focus on having a conversation with another person. And yet, the Psalmist here says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statues; I will not forget your word.”
Those last few words, “I will not forget your word” are stunning. Here is the Psalmist wants us to long for more of the Word in our lives. He desires that we get it and grow. He also wants us to fix our gaze not on the things of life but on the Word of God and on the God of the Word. To this end, he beautifully states all of this is so “I will not forget your word.”
I don’t know about you but that statement “I will not forget your word,” is convicting; especially because in in the midst of stressful situations, I can tend to overanalyze situations which causes me to forget my need for the Word of God. Yet, here is the Psalmist articulating what a heart that earnestly desires to glorify the Lord in this passage is one that seeks Him in all he says and does, and he can say I “forget your word.” I don’t know about you, but that’s incredibly hopeful because you and I need the grace of God and one another. Over fifty times in the New Testament, we are told to one another each other.
If you and I are honest with each other, we know we daily need more of the Word of God and not less. We also likely know we need one another more in our lives, not less and yet you might be wondering at this point, “How do we do this?” First, we get in the Word of God ourselves. Second, we open our Bible’s during corporate worship and read along as the Pastor preaches the Word. Third, we treat the Word with reverence and seek to live obediently by the grace of God. Lastly, we don’t treat the grace of God casually. Instead, we treat the grace of God as costly and daily put sin to death by the grace of God. As we do this by the grace of God, we will grow, and as we do grow, we will not forget the Word, even during stressful times. Instead of forgetting, you and I will daily fight against apathy, grow ourselves in the Word and in the grace offered to us through our Beloved Lord Jesus who now calls us His friends.